Dylann Roof found competent to represent himself - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Dylann Roof found competent to represent himself

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Dylann Roof has been ruled competent to stand trial and to act as his own attorney. Dylann Roof has been ruled competent to stand trial and to act as his own attorney.
CHARLESTON, S.C. -

The Latest on the next trial phase of the man facing a possible death sentence for slaying nine people during Bible study (all times local):
    
6:15 p.m.
    
Dylann Roof has been ruled competent to stand trial and to act as his own attorney.
    
U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel made the determination Monday after a daylong hearing. The judge heard about seven hours of testimony in the hearing, which was closed to the public and the media.
    
Roof was also granted an extra day to prepare for his case. The same jury that last month found Roof guilty of 33 federal charges will now return to court Wednesday to begin weighing if he should be sentenced to life in prison or death for the June 2015 slayings of nine black parishioners during a Charleston church Bible study.
    
Roof is set to act as his own lawyer during sentencing. U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel on Monday ruled that Roof can't approach witnesses or the jury during court. He'll also be sitting in a chair farthest from the jury and victims' family members.
    
___
    
5:30 p.m.
    
A hearing on the competency of Dylann Roof is over.
    
It wasn't immediately clear what U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel's determination would be. The judge heard about seven hours of testimony Monday in the hearing, which was closed to the public and the media.
    
The same jury that last month found Roof guilty of 33 federal charges is set to return to court Tuesday to begin weighing if he should be sentenced to life in prison or death for the June 2015 slayings of nine black parishioners during a Charleston church Bible study.
    
Roof is set to act as his own lawyer during sentencing. U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel on Monday ruled that Roof can't approach witnesses or the jury during court. He'll also be sitting in a chair farthest from the jury and victims' family members.
    
___
    
3:15 p.m.
    
A judge has issued an order governing Dylann Roof's movement within the federal courtroom where he'll be acting as his own lawyer during sentencing.
    
U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel on Monday ruled that Roof can't approach witnesses or the jury during court, set to get underway on Tuesday. He'll also be sitting in a chair furthest from the jury and victims' family members.
    
The same jury that last month found Roof guilty of 33 federal charges is set to return to court Tuesday to begin weighing if he should be sentenced to life in prison or death for the June 2015 slayings of nine black parishioners during a Charleston church Bible study.
    
Gergel's order was published online as he conducted a closed hearing on Roof's competency. Media outlets including The Associated Press argued it should be open to the public, but the judge said he feared Roof may not get a fair trial if jurors knew of what was discussed.
    
___
    
1:15 p.m.
    
A judge has called for a recess in a second hearing on the competency of a man charged with killing nine black people during Bible study at a South Carolina church.
    
U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel heard more than three hours of testimony Monday before breaking for lunch.
    
Over the weekend, Gergel says a court-appointed psychiatrist examined 22-year-old Dylann Roof for about five hours.
    
Jay Bender, an attorney for The Associated Press and other outlets, said closing the hearing would keep the community from an important part of the legal process. Gergel ordered Monday's hearing closed to the media and public, saying Roof's right to a fair trial could be hampered if jurors mulling his sentence learned the contents of the hearing.
    
Jurors are set to begin hearing evidence Tuesday as to why prosecutors feel he should be put to death for killing nine people at Emanuel AME Church in June 2015.
    
___
    
9:30 a.m.
    
A federal judge has shut out the public from a second hearing on the competency of a man charged with killing nine black people during Bible study at a South Carolina church.
    
U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel ruled Monday that Dylann Roof's right to a fair trial could be hampered if jurors mulling his sentence learned the contents of the hearing.
    
Jay Bender, an attorney for The Associated Press and other media outlets, argued against the closure. Bender said closing the hearing to the public would be keeping the community from an important part of the legal process.
    
Gergel said he would have had to sequester the jury if he opened up the hearing. The judge said he didn't think jurors would intentionally seek out information about the result but might come by it inadvertently, a risk he couldn't take. Gergel said he'd release a transcript of the hearing after a verdict is reached in the case.
    
Jurors are set to begin hearing evidence Tuesday as to why prosecutors feel he should be put to death for killing nine people at Emanuel AME Church in June 2015.
    
___
    
3:30 a.m.
    
The same jury that last month unanimously found Dylann Roof guilty in the slayings of nine black parishioners at a South Carolina church is returning to court to begin contemplating his punishment.
    
The sentencing phase of Roof's trial begins Tuesday in Charleston. He could face the death penalty.
    
With Roof representing himself, the process is sure to be unconventional. The 22-year-old said he plans to call no witnesses or introduce any evidence.
    
Prosecutors plan to call up to 38 people related to the nine people killed and three who survived the June 2015 slaughter during Bible study at Emanuel AME Church.
    
Even if Roof is sentenced to death, it's highly unlikely he'd be executed anytime soon. The federal government hasn't carried out a death sentence since 2003.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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